Let It Shine!: Holes in the Darkness

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” 

The words of this children’s gospel song, written in 1920 by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, are simple and their message far reaching. What child hasn’t sung it? What adult doesn’t remember it?

But the more important question: do we hold true to its mission?

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 

Matthew 5:16, KJV


Holes in the Darkness

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 

Daniel 12:3, NIV

Shine,_Day_3,_Photo_1Due to a chronic lung disease, Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson spent much of his childhood bedridden. One evening, he watched as a lamplighter lit the gas lamps on the street outside his bedroom window. When his nurse came into his room and found him with his face pressed up against the glass, she asked, “What intrigues you so?”  He replied, “I’m watching a man punch holes in the darkness.”

God punched a hole in the darkness at creation when He said, “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3).

Jesus punched a hole in the darkness when He came to earth and said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Christ-followers punch holes in the darkness when we let our lights shine. “You are the light of the world … in the same way let your light shine” (Matthew 5:14, 16).

Years ago, I received a phone call from a distraught friend. Her three-year-old daughter was afraid of the dark. All of their attempts to comfort her had failed. “Please pray,” she said. “Every night, Eliana gets out of bed, and we find her asleep in the hall the next morning. I don’t know what to do.”

Since Eliana was taking a nap at the time, I suggested she place her hands on her daughter’s head and pray against the spirit of fear. I Shine,_Day_3,_Photo_2would also pray. The next morning, my friend called to tell me that her daughter had slept through the night.

Later that day, I bought Eliana a package of plastic glow-in-the-dark stars. When I took them to her, we went into the pantry and shut the door so she could see them glow. I told her that when her parents put them on the ceiling above her bed, she could look at them and know that Jesus was watching over her and would keep her safe through the night.

Shine,_Day_3,_Photo_3Again, she slept all night.

Days later, I received this note from her mother: “Every night Eliana wants to turn out the nightlight so that she can see the stars. She says, ‘I can still see them, Mommy!’ It’s been a good reminder for us that sometimes we can see God shining brightly in our circumstances and at other times we have to look for Him a little harder, but He is always there.”

In order for phosphorus stars to glow in the dark, they need daily exposure to the light. Likewise, for our lights to shine, we need to position ourselves regularly before the Light Giver and then be willing to step into the darkness of another. It is there that we will witness God punch holes in the darkness of a lost and dying world.

Let it shine!


Our Great Shepherd: Even in the Valley

Psalm 23 is one of the most recognizable passages of Scripture. Its words have been sung, prayed, and illustrated in countless ways, but if we’re not careful we can become so well acquainted with these verses that we forget the power these words hold. To recognize God as our Shepherd means we also have to accept that we are indeed like sheep: dirty, defenseless and helpless. Without a shepherd, the sheep are left to their own devices, which ultimately will lead them to starve, wander off, or be attacked. This week, let’s slow it down, remind ourselves that we are sheep in need of a loving Shepherd.


Even in the Valley

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Psalm 23:4-5

ThursdayAs a kid, I was a “happy Bible verse only” kind of reader. Anytime something sounded a little too scary, I’d zip right past it, and these verses were ones that I zipped right past most of the time. The valley of the shadow of death? Evil? My enemies? Regardless of what other words were in the verses, those words were enough for me to just trail off until I found something more positive.

Having grown up a few years and now experienced the valley of the shadow of death, evil, and the presence of enemies, I no longer skip through these verses. They hold deep truths for me, truths that have held me through dark nights and fearful moments while far from home.

The valley is deep and dark, and the verse does not read “IF I walk through the valley.” Living in a fallen world means that, unfortunately, we will experience the shadows. We will walk through death, despair, grief, persecution, heartbreak and depression. Things will be far from perfect, and there may be times when we can’t see a way out.

But we will walk through it. We won’t be lost in the valley, and we make it through to the other side. Our Shepherd will guide, sustain, and defend us with His rod and staff. We will find comfort in the everlasting arms of our Shepherd. The victory is ours because He has won it for us, and He invites us into His victory at His table. We will feast in the presence of our enemies, and victory will never be taken from us.

Sometimes it seems like our trudge through the dark valley will never end and we begin to lose hope, but even the faintest of lights overpowers darkness – we must not forget the power of Christ within us! We follow a Shepherd who has walked through the valley before us, and He keeps a close hand on us as a safe and certain guide through our darkest times.


Five Years of Truth: 2013/2014 He Knows Our Hearts

I committed my life to Jesus five and one half years ago. Each year He has given me new and wonderful things to learn, to feel, and to do.

Join me in reminiscing.


2013/2014 He Knows Our Hearts

Search me, God, and know my heart;    
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,    
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

fridayTime goes by and if we are true to God He continues to teach us. I still have so much to learn, but oh, what a joy it is. Nothing can compare to gaining knowledge through prayer and the reading of God’s Word.

In 2013 God began to teach me about relationships. I learned a lot about being a good and loving wife. I learned better ways to love my daughter and pray for her family. I learned about friendships. On these things I’m still learning.

He began to teach me about myself. We began a journey together that traveled inward. Only God knows our true hearts, and when He shows us what’s there, it can be surprising, even painful. For me, and probably for most of us, it is a crazy mixed up place. Some parts good. Some parts not so good. God doesn’t like dark places so all must and will come to light.

This year, 2014, I began to pray today’s verse of Scripture. My prayers have been sincere, but I didn’t quite realize what I was asking for.

You see I have a dark place in my heart. I was a victim of child abuse. I rose above it and moved forward in life. I told myself I would never confront it. Never look at it. Some things are better left in the darkness. I wonder … could I be wrong about that?

In August I started seeing a counselor. I promised myself I would never do that, but God had a different plan. For me He chose light over darkness, a choice I could not make on my own.

It’s a hard and scary road and it’s just begun. I don’t know how long this road is or where it will lead, but I do know with certainty, God, my Father, is with me. He is holding my hand. And when the road ends, He assures me, there will be a beautiful light in my heart where the dark place used to be.

Oh how I love that about God!!